My arch-nemesis at Michiana Beer Nuts has done it again, he beat me to the punch on writing about Iechyd Da in Elkhart. It's my own fault really, we stopped by nearly two weeks ago, and I'm just now getting around to singing their praises. It's all in fun of course, Eric is a friend, and his write-up on the newest brewery to hit Michiana can be read here. I've avoided reading it so far so that it won't influence my opinion, but I'm sure we'll arrive at similar results.
Opening week started on June 4th, while I was out of town, so I couldn't wait to get there on the 8th for some delicious pizza and tasty beers. Much to my surprise, we found one open table right away, which must have been lucky timing since a horde of thirsty patrons arrived shortly afterward. For only $4 per 20oz glass, we were able to pick from the following lineup...
Maiden Voyage (Style?, 5.3%)
Pub Ale (English Ale, 4.4%)
Prosperity (Pale Ale, 5.3%)
Main Drag (Amber, 5.5%)
Big Pit (Porter, 5.2%)
13 American Black (Black Ale, 7.8%)
All ordering at Iechyd Da is done at the counter to the left of the bar, so after deciding what we wanted, that is where I headed. To be honest, after a week in Chicago, I was beat.. there was no way I was going to make it through more than one beer without curling up next to a warm mash tun and falling asleep. Black Ales/IPAs are one of my favorite styles, so I wanted to give theirs a try. My wife went with something I'm typically not a fan of, an English style ale.
So the beers were ordered and served right away by the brewpub's co-owner with the sunny disposition, Summer. At the same time, we put in an order for a fancy-ass pizza which was to be delivered to our table at an undisclosed time. First off, with regard to said fancy-ass pizza (We ordered the Kidwelly, with rosemary oil, smoked gouda, mozzarella, arugula, and balsamic), you should know by now that I'm not a foodie. I tend to leave all food related matters to our local expert - South Bend Foodies, but I must derail the beer talk for a moment to say how awesome the pizza was. Even though it had toppings I wouldn't typically order, it was nothing but hand-made, sweet, savory goodness. This is the kind of pizza you share with someone else, and wash down with a cold beer.
Oh ya, and the beer... well.. The beer is good. The black ale had just the right balance of hops, roast, and malty sweetness, all while leaving a crisp and clean finish. It wasn't exactly session-able, but not a palate-wrecker by any stretch. The pub ale on the other hand, it's everything I figured it would be.. caramely, vinegary, and very English. To be honest, if I lived over there and was stuck with this style, I'd probably be a wine drinker (I shutter to think..). In all seriousness though, in spite of the fact that I dislike the style, it was a very well crafted, clean beer. Drinkers with a taste for English-style beers will take to this one nicely.
To say that I was impressed with Iechyd Da would be an understatement. They've clearly put a lot of thought and care into the products they sell, whether it's beer, or food. It has the feel of an upscale joint without snooty exclusivity; a place you'll feel comfortable. Bottom line, they finally gave me a good reason to visit Elkhart.